EIA: More households heating with woody biomass this winter
The U.S Energy Information Administration has released the October issue of its Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook, which includes data related to woody biomass used for heating.
According to the report, household use of wood fuel for heating has increased over the last decade, reversing trends seen in the 1980s and 1990s. The EIA estimates that U.S. households consumed approximately 500 trillion Btu of wood, which is only slightly less than the 600 trillion Btu of heating oil during the same period.
The report notes that wood fuel in the U.S. is most commonly used as a secondary source of heating, rather than as a primary source. However, only electricity is used more often as a secondary heating source.
The use of wood for home heating purposes is most prevalent in New England, where 20 percent of homes used wood for space heating, water heating or cooking in 2009. The rate of wood use in the region is nearly twice that of the national rate, and almost half of all rural households in the New England used wood for heating purposes. In comparison, only 12 percent of urban New England households use wood for heating.
The EIA estimates that 586,000 households in the northeast will use wood as a primary heating fuel during the 2012-2013 winter season. This is a 7.7 percent projected increase over last winter. An additional 651,000 households are expected to use wood as a primary heating fuel in the Midwest this winter, a 3.6 increase over last year. In the south, 628,000 households are expected to utilize the fuel, a 1.7 percent increase over last winter. In the western portion of the U.S. , the EIA 738,000 households are expected to utilize wood as a primary heating fuel, a 0.2 percent increase. Overall, the EIA data shows that more than 2.6 million households across the U.S. will heat their homes with wood in 2012-2013. That is a 3 percent increase over last winter.